Discuss at least one development issue or challenge faced by any country of your choice.
The discussion should include some consideration of the ways in which the issue(s)
covered relates to the broader global context.
Development issues and challenges arise in many countries as they progress through the
stages of development, and for Bhutan this is no exception. Bhutan is a small country located in the
Eastern Himalaya's, situated between India and China. The biggest issue facing Bhutan is maintaining
its strong cultural identity, which it has maintained for much of history. "Bhutan's dilemma is
represented in its desire to share in global economic development while still retaining its traditional
cultural identity." (Brunet, S., 2001, p 243)
The main reason Bhutan is facing these social conflicts stems from the increased influence of
Western culture on the country's youths. This can partially be blamed on the increase of tourism to
the country. As the only country in the world which nationally practises Tantric Buddhism, the sense
of identity is very high throughout Bhutan. (Film: Bhutan: The impact of globalisation, 2008) Howver,
the increase of tourism has shown the younger generation an alternative, more glamorous lifestyle.
As tourists began entering the country in the late 1960's, this marked the beginning of change for
Bhutan. The population believed that "Development doesn't have to be material. You can have any
luxuries, but does it buy you happiness?" (Film: Bhutan: The impact of globalisation, 2008) However
due to development, most youths in urban areas are donning a more Westernised image, as
opposed to the cultural outfits, 'gho' for boys, and 'kira' for girls (CHUA,2008, p 16) which would
indicate they are becoming more image and product obsessed. This contradicts the older
generation's beliefs of not needing money to be happy. In addition to this is the increase in youths
smoking, drinking and violent incidents reflecting to some degree what you would see in America or
the UK rather than a small Himalayan country, recognized for its culture. Trying to combat this
problem, the Government have banned 3 channels from the sole provider of the country's TV (BBS -
Bhutan Broadcasting Service) consisting of 'Ten Sports' (due to violent wrestling), 'MTV' and 'Fashion
TV' due to the portrayal of Western culture and materialistic lifestyles. (McDonald, 2004, p 68 - 89)
The 1st March 2005 saw the ban on the sale of tobacco in all 20 districts of Bhutan (www.bbc.co.uk,
2005) as part of the government's attempts to rein back the cultural values of the country.
However, despite government intervention, the availability of tobacco on the black market
means that youths are still smoking openly in public places such as snooker clubs and karaoke bars.
As well as this defiant effort to ignore the law, the younger generation are also publicly ignoring the
national dress code, and continuing to wear Western influenced jeans and skirts as opposed to...